Caitlin Berry named director of the Rubell Museum DC
The Rubell Museum today announced that Caitlin Berry will be the first director of its new museum located in Washington, DC. Berry will work closely with the Rubells and the director of the Rubell Museum in Miami, Juan Valadez, to bring to life the vision of sharing their vast collection of contemporary art with those who live, work and visit the nation’s capital. Opening October 29, 2022, the Rubell Museum DC will reinvigorate the historic Randall Junior High School in the Southwest neighborhood as a place for the public to engage with the most compelling domestic and international artists of our time.
Berry brings to the Rubell Museum DC extensive experience working with art communities in the DC metro area. Before joining the museum, she was director of the Cody Gallery at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. An advocate for local artists, Berry curated the 2019 editions and co-hosted the 2020 editions of Art Night, an annual exhibit and fundraiser in support of the Washington Project for the Arts (WPA). She serves on the board of the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art in Reston, Virginia, and is a member of the Washington, DC Chapter of ArtTable. She holds a post-baccalaureate degree in gallery management and a bachelor’s degree in communication and art history from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Berry, who begins his new role in August, will be responsible for engaging the greater DC community, developing public programming and overseeing museum operations and staff. Berry will also work with the Rubells and Valadez, overseeing installations and exhibits at the Rubell Museum DC.
“Caitlin’s knowledge and passion for the DC arts community makes her the perfect partner to integrate the museum into the city and surrounding region,” said Mera Rubell. “She is deeply committed both to artists and to making art accessible to a wide range of audiences, which is our goal in creating this museum.”
“It is an honor for me to work with the Rubells to add a new resource to the city’s formidable museum landscape. The Rubell Museum DC will focus exclusively on the art of today and invite the public to discover new ideas inspired by the nuanced expressions and lived experiences of the artists on display,” said Berry. “I look forward to expanding my work promoting collaboration in the art ecosystem in DC and contributing to the cultural conversation dynamic that takes place here.”
Berry’s areas of interest include the Washington Color School, African American Mid-Century Art, and Contemporary Art. She has been an independent contemporary art advisor to various private and public collections. Berry also served as a director at Hemphill Fine Arts, one of DC’s premier art galleries, focusing on emerging, mid-career and established local artists. At the Cody Gallery, she curated exhibitions including Nekisha Durrett: Magnolia, Dave Eassa: People and Places You Don’t Know How to Know, and co-curated Jennie Lea Knight: Women of Jefferson Place, alongside John Anderson and Meaghan Kent. Independently, she curated Eric Uhlir: Before, After and In Between, and Joseph Shetler: Pursuit of Nothing at Culture House DC.
The opening of the Rubell Museum DC builds on past initiatives to share the Rubells collection with audiences throughout the DC metro area. In 2011, the Corcoran Gallery of Art became one of the first institutions to present 30 Americans, an extensive survey of the works of many of the most important African-American artists of the past three decades. This acclaimed exhibition, which is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue, has toured for more than 10 years in 20 museums across the country. Other Rubell Museum exhibits that have traveled to DC include No Man’s Land: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection (2016) at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings (2006) at Katzen Arts. of the American University Museum. Center. Loans from the collection have been featured in Juan Muñoz (2001), Robert Gober: Sculpture + Drawing (2001), and Directions: Sherrie Levine (1998) at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; as well as Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow (2011) at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Additional loans were presented to the National Portrait Gallery, including a work by Kehinde Wiley in Recognize! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture (2008) and by Njideka Akunyili Crosby in Kinship’s upcoming museum presentation (opening October 28, 2022), which will bring together eight contemporary artists whose work explores the closeness that unites us.
About the Rubell Museum DC
Located at 65 I Street in the Southwest neighborhood, the Rubell Museum DC brings the Rubells’ vast collection of contemporary art to the nation’s capital. After nearly 30 years as the Rubell Family Collection and with the 2019 expansion to a new location in Miami, the Rubells decided to put the museum in his name to emphasize his public mission and expand public access.
Shortly after Don and Mera Rubell married in 1964, they began visiting artists’ studios and collecting art in New York, when Mera was a teacher in the Head Start program and Don was at school. ‘medicine School. The collection has since grown into a multi-generational family passion to connect, engage and support many of today’s most fascinating artists.
The 32,000 square foot museum is housed in the former Randall Junior High School built in 1906. Its adaptive reuse as a museum preserves this deteriorating building, a historically African-American public school listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and brings it back to life as a public resource.
The Rubell Museum’s collection is distinguished by its unprecedented range and depth which has enabled the museum to stage more than 50 exhibitions over the past three decades drawn entirely from its holdings in painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation. These include innovative and diverse exhibitions such as Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings (2004), Richard Prince (2004), Red Eye: Los Angeles Artists (2006), 30 Americans (2008), Against All Odds: Keith Haring (2008), Beg Borrow and Steal (2009), 28 Chinese (2013), NO MAN’S LAND (2015), Still Human (2017), Purvis Young (2018) and Yayoi Kusama (2020). Many of these exhibits toured museums around the world and were accompanied by catalogs.